Thursday, January 28, 2010


I recently completed Sandra Gulland's trilogy of Josephine Bonaparte. If you are a fan of historical fiction, Gulland's trilogy should definitely be on your list of must reads.

After reading this trio, I felt as if I had just had three scoops of my favorite ice cream, each with a cherry on top! I delighted in each book as if it was a delicious treat!

Captivated by Sandra Gulland's novels, I found that each one left me desiring more. Admittedly, I knew little of Josephine's history and was quickly drawn into these beautiful works of historical fiction.

The first of the series, THE MANY LIVES & SECRET SORROWS OF JOSEPHINE B. introduces the reader to Rose, a young girl born and raised on the lush tropical island of Martinico in the Caribbean. Gulland skillfully reveals the voice of Rose (Josephine) through fictionalized diary entries. In this first book the reader experiences a taste of Créole life on this exotic island where Rose's family owns a sugar plantation. We learn of Rose's early experience with a fortune teller in which the voodoo witch predicts that Rose will someday become Queen.

Food references are sparse among the pages, but one can easily imagine the wealth of fresh fish and an abundance of colorful fruits on this lush island.

Rose, the oldest of three girls, desires only to go live in France with her beautiful Aunt Désirée, her father's sister. With the untimely death of Rose's younger sister Catherine, Rose finds she is indeed on a journey across the Atlantic to meet the wealthy man to whom she is betrothed.

Only 15 years of age and naive in the ways of the world, Rose is understandably nervous about meeting her future husband. Amused by the passage above, you'll see that Rose does not like eels and is comforted to know that her intended dislikes them as well.

Another entry, relates the elegance and abundance of pre-Revolutionary France. Though as the entries progress the reader travels along Rose's rocky road of married life with Alexandre Beauharnais. Betrayed, widowed, and left in poverty, Rose endures a difficult life.

Arrested and imprisoned Rose suffers unbearable conditions,

existing on meals of sardines and boiled haricots served once a day.

Once released, conditions weren't much improved.

Breadsticks and wine . . .

or slipcoat cheese.

Considering that the majority of this chapter of Rose's life was lean and difficult, I chose to replicate her daily prison cuisine of sardines and haricots.

Honoring this elegant lady, I wouldn't dare serve her on an old metal plate. Instead dinner is served on 19th century French faience.

And includes a sweet salad of island fruits: mangos and kiwi . . .

With a glass of fine wine and artisan bread. Actually, this was a tasty dinner!

It's near the end of this book that Josephine meets Napoleon, and we get a hint at what is to follow in this relationship.

So there I leave you until we pick back up with TALES OF PASSION, TALES OF WOE.

Thanks to our hostess, Jain, for creating this delectable blog of book reviews. Click here to see a list of others who are participating in Food for Thought.

THE MANY LIVES & SECRET SORROWS OF JOSEPHINE B. is available here @ Amazon. I give this book Five *****

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

B is for Beau

B is for Beau's Birthday!

beau- (boa) beautiful, fair, pretty, lovely, handsome

Welcome to Alphabe-Thursday. You're just in time for the Birthday party.
Beau's first Birthday just happens to coincide with Alphabe-Thursday's B post so his grand auntie decided to have a party.

We have Birthday cake . . .

Blue Balloons . . .

and Bottles of Bubbles for everyone!

So come on in and join this Beautiful Baby Boy's Birthday Party!

The guests have already started to celebrate.

This would be Bruce.

He's always the first to arrive when there are crumbs to be had.

Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Beau,
Happy Birthday to you!

Make a wish and Blow out the candle!

Hooray Beau is ONE!

Happy Birthday, sweet Big Boy!

Here is a quick recap of Beau's First Year.

Last year on this day the Birthday Boy was a new Born Baby.

Now he is a Big Boy working out with Barbells.

Baby Beau would Bag a few zzzzzz on Buses.

But these days Big Boy Beau is Busy on Bus rides.

You can see the Birthday Boy is good at multi-tasking as he sits in a Box, on a Blue Blanket, reading a Book,while juggling Blue balls. Ah, yes, he is Brilliant and Bilingual! Did you notice that he is learning to read in French?

This Boy in Blue has seen the sights.

He's Braved new heights.

He has Basked on the Beach.

He's let Bubbles tickle his feet.

Some even think he looks a bit like Brad!

Yes, Beau has even flown high into the Blue skies across the Blue Atlantic while riding in this Blue Basket on his first trip to the United States.

I know it appears that I'm working on a baby theme for my Alphabe-Thursday posts, but the first two Thursdays just happened to coincide with Annabelle's birth and Beau's Birthday. I promise next week will be C is for Change, the royal Courtly type. Until then, stop by to see me on Saturday for different kind of B related post. I'm participating in Jain's Food for Thought with a book review on THE MANY LIVES & SECRET SORROWS OF JOSEPHINE B., the first in Sandra Gulland's trilogy of Josephine Bonaparte. Hope to see you then. In the meantime, click here to see Jenny Matlock's list of more Alphabe-Thursday participants.

Thanks for joining me today. Oh, and don't forget to take your party favor!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Shake It Out With Silver

I recently celebrated another birthday, and as they say, "That's a good thing!" Birthdays have always been important to me, but now having celebrated over six decades of birthdays, I've noticed that the older I get, the more fun birthdays are. Celebrating with various friends often stretches on for days. How special it all is!

This set of individual silver salt and pepper shakers was one of my birthday gifts from my husband. He thought I might enjoy working these into future tablescapes.

He knows I love silver accents on the table.

Silver shakers add such an elegant touch!

The pair of sterling salt and pepper shakers, a wedding gift from an aunt and uncle, have been a part of dinners in our home for over 30 years.

Though the "chef" here at HFTS prefers grinders. He has a small assortment that he uses, but only this one in silver.

I set these out on a small silver salver for a dinner. I think it will be fun to mix in the individual shakers at each place setting.

I like the contrast of the sleek curves of the shakers with the ornate edges of the salver.

We also have an assortment of pewter salt and peppers that are in use daily. My "chef" likes to use a variety of types of salts and peppers.

The large ones are both grinders and the smaller set are shakers.

These grinders are filled through a small scoop that opens.

These are close at hand on the kitchen counter atop this oblong pewter tray.

I'm linking this post to both Silver Sunday and Three or More Tuesday. Hope you'll stop by each on their respective days to visit all the others participating in these weekly memes. Thanks for stopping by today. I'd be thrilled if you left me a note.